As I begin to go into my classroom to set up for this year, I find myself doing what I always do...I move around the classroom moving one pile to another pile, creating new piles, distracted by small projects, feeling like I can not move on till I make a small trip to the store, and avoiding the big projects. As I roamed around yesterday, I found myself avoiding the classroom library section.
Every year at this time I have an internal conversation about how to set up my classroom library. Do I release complete control to the students? Do I organize it for them? Is there a method to do this somewhere in the middle? I want the students to see all of the books available to them. I want the students to have ownership. I want the library to represent this year's class of readers. As I tried to visualize the flow of students and books...I kept coming back to one thought. When a student completes an independent reading book and celebrates it with the class, I hope it will immediately go into the hands of another student. I know that is not always the case. I want to make sure that a book has a "middle land" to go to before going back to the book bins in the library.
So...I came up with an idea called..."What's in your next stack?" I created a bulletin board with plastic, clear envelopes hanging from hooks. When a student finishes a book and would recommend it, they will put a post-it with their name on top of the book (so we know who we can talk to about the book), put the book in the envelope, and hang it on the bulletin board. That way, not only is the book displayed, it is right at your finger tips with the name of the last reader on it and not lost in a bin. I have the bulletin board in a high traffic area of the room in hopes that by passing it often a student might become interested eventually or be reminded about that book because they are finally ready to start a new book. I also displayed the covers to many other books to intrigue the students.
I am excited about this "middle land" for books. I am still deciding exactly how I want to roll out the classroom library when the students arrive in just two weeks!